Arsenal: FA Cup or not, the Gunners must get back into the winning habit

It’s an FA Cup weekend but the Gunners aren’t in action until Monday night when we take on Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth at Dean Court. For the Cherries, who currently sit in the drop-zone, relegation is a real possibility and therefore we’re unlikely to see them field their strongest XI – Premier League survival will surely take precedent.

From an Arsenal perspective, it’s about re-discovering the winning habit. Although there has undoubtedly been a significant improvement in the teams performances since his arrival, seven games into Mikel Arteta’s tenure we’re still to experience the ‘new manager bounce’ as far as results are concerned.

To be clear, I’m ok with that because this time around we can see a plan, a direction of travel, a philosophy and the communication between the Head Coach and the fans is clearer and more transparent than it’s been in years. But despite the upturn in our performances, the attitude and the belief around the club – confidence will not truly improve without the desired results.

Winning is as much about mindset as it is talent and after an encouraging result at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday it’s important to carry that positivity forward and build on it. For that reason I believe the Spaniard will continue with his strongest available side and given what’s gone on in the past few months a cup run would do this squad the world of good in terms of belief.

Arteta has spoken of the importance of momentum in the past and given the winter break is on the horizon there’s no reason to hold back. Despite a dreadful start to the season Arsenal still have every chance of achieving a respectable league position, collecting silverware and possibly even sneaking into next seasons Champions League via a fourth placed finish or Europa League glory.

For the first time in a long time it feels like Arsenal are improving and like many I’m confident better times are just around the corner.

Arsenal: We need an experienced Head Coach sooner rather than later – Blog

Freddie Ljungberg

So many of us wanted rid of Unai Emery that we temporarily lost sight of the fact that whoever was going to inherit this sh*t show, experienced or not was going to have their work cut out. A leaky defence, an imbalanced midfield and a £72m winger who’s simply not been good enough – perhaps our summer transfer business wasn’t as good as we thought it at the time.

Arsenal are currently on their worst run of form for over 40 years and after Thursday night’s embarrassing defeat there are no signs of it getting any better. The draw at Norwich last weekend highlighted the same old problems but there were some positives to take from the trip to Carrow road.

At the very least Arsenal were entertaining again and throughout the first half played confident, expansive and attacking football. Our defending left a lot to be desired but we expected that.

Fast-forward to Thursday and not only was our defence as porous as ever but our confidence looked completely shot. We are a side who currently find themselves in free-fall and when you’re walking away feeling as though Granit Xhaka and Sead Kolasinac were two of our best players you’ve got to be concerned.

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We all want Freddie to succeed, even more so than I wanted Emery to when he first arrived purely because he’s somebody with whom we have an affiliation, a love and respect for. However, two games into his tenure as interim-boss I’m beginning to have serious doubts about whether or not he’s out of his depth.

During Emery’s tenure Arsenal brought in no fewer than twelve players but it’s impossible to look at that squad and not feel it still needs a major overhaul. That for me, is a tell tale sign of just how bad the Spaniard reign was. The demise started during Monsieur Wenger’s final years but it accelerated substantially following his departure.

Ever since the trigger was pulled on the former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla boss the club have been linked with a whole host of names. If you believe what you read you’ll have seen the club have a fourteen man shortlist. Fourteen!

Arsenal as a football club are at a crossroads. Either make a statement, hire somebody with a proven track record who can navigate the club through these troubled times and end the wait for our return to the Champions League or take another risk with a second-rate manager and watch us disappear into the abyss.

It’s time for KSE to put their money where their mouths are and go get a Max Allegri or a Carlo Ancelotti. The idea of hiring Mikel Arteta or even Patrick Vieira feels slightly naive – you never know it could prove a master-stroke but given our precarious position it’s a risk I certainly wouldn’t be willing to take.